Chemicals We Avoid at NatBrands

Chemicals We Avoid at NatBrands

When choosing which household products to use in our own home and what to recommend and sell to others, there comes the responsibility of examining which chemicals might do harm to our families, the planet and its inhabitants. We have noticed over the years that people have different priorities when it comes to choosing cleaning and household products.  For some, the priority is their own and their children’s health. For others animal welfare and testing is a key factor. More recently the concern about the environmental impact of products from their ingredients to their plastic packaging has come to prominence again. The best green products will be created with all of those issues in mind.

Here are 4 chemicals that the ECOS chemist team suggest we should avoid for a safer clean. Always read the label of your cleaning products and do your research if you are not sure. Rest assured that these nasties will not be found in any of the NatBrands ranges: 


Why avoid products using ingredients that contain 1,4-dioxane? 1,4-dioxane is not very well heard of but is a known carcinogen and potentially found in products that contain ethoxylated surfactants, such as Sodium Laureth Sulphate and Ethoxylated Alcohols. While such surfactants may be plant-derived they are manufactured by a process known as ethoxylation.  This process takes the plant oil (such as coconut or palm oil) and reacts it with ethylene oxide to create the surfactant (cleaning agent).  The problem is that during this process, a compound known as 1,4 dioxane is also created.  While 1,4 dioxane may not be added to a formula, it can be present in formulas that use ethoxylated surfactants.  1,4 dioxane is a known carcinogen and has many other negative health effects.  Further, the USA EPA has flagged 1,4 dioxane as a chemical of high concern for review.


What is formaldehyde? Why is it bad? How do I know if a product contains formaldehyde? Formaldehyde is one of the original preservatives ever used but has been flagged as a known carcinogen. Many companies do not add any formaldehyde, but it is still in the formula.  Many larger chemicals are called “formaldehyde donors” because break down and degrade overtime into formaldehyde.  By purchasing products with a complete ingredient disclosure- you can research each ingredient to flag any that may be formaldehyde donors.  


What is a paraben?  Why they bad?  How can you identify a paraben on a label? Parabens are a class of synthetic preservatives regularly found in commercial chemical products. Studies have shown that parabens mimic oestrogen in the body which can have potentially harmful effects. When a product has complete ingredient disclosure, you can tell if a product contains parabens by reading the product label. Common paraben preservatives will have names like methylparaben, butylparaben or polyparaben.


Why are they bad? The production and use of dyes have both environmental and human health consequences. Commercial dyes contain compounds such as benzidine which are known to be carcinogenic. Most dyes bioaccumulate and do not readily biodegrade. Additionally, dyes are almost never necessary for the functionality of a product and are simply added for aesthetic appeal. Seeking out products that are free of dyes will limit your exposure to these harmful chemicals. 

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  • Lois Clark